Westmoreland County Community College

Proving there’s someone in everyone’s corner: High impact student support at Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC)

WCCC’s adult learner re-enrollment strategy focuses on comprehensive support through success coaching to overcome financial barriers, promote student health, and support academic success.

Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC), based in Youngwood, Pennsylvania, is spread across eight campuses in three counties. Each semester, over 1,100 students attend class close to home at a Westmoreland location in their own community.

Part of Westmoreland’s mission is to aid in the development of a strong workforce through specialized training, the college providing ample opportunities for students to develop new work skills or enhance existing ones, earn certifications, and satisfy professional development goals.

To keep with their mission of serving students of all ages, Westmoreland knew they needed a sustainable, long-term engagement plan to re-enroll adult learners and stopout students.

Reaching stopout students with limited resources

Before its partnership with ReUp, Westmoreland’s approach to re-enroll students was to focus on those that hadn’t been with WCCC for the past two years (or six semesters) or less. The WCCC team used a combination of social media, email, and direct mail marketing campaigns to get them engaged with the institution before recruit staff would then take the lead in managing relationships with prospective students.

Many institutions, both two-year colleges and bachelor’s degree-granting ones, employ this strategy to recapture student populations of adult learners. But, as the latest research from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) on Some College, No Credential (SCNC) suggests, only 10% of the SCNC population across the country are near completers or recent stopouts.

Community colleges are the most common type of institution of last enrollment, re-enrollment, and first credential attainment for SCNC students. The good news for two-year colleges like Westmoreland is that these students are most likely to return to the same community college that they had stopped out from.

Yet on a nationwide basis, 90% of the SCNC population left higher education over two years ago, which means that colleges like Westmoreland have an opportunity to re-engage with a growing population of adult learners that have been systematically left behind.

Partnership Overview

Interactions made by ReUp
with WCCC students

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WCCC Students Enrolled


Tuition Recovered

$ 340000
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Connecting with hard-to-reach community college adult learners

Unlike traditional, first-year college students, adult learners’ lives are dispersed across the many other roles they play: employee, parent or caregiver, healthcare patient, and more.

The external factors that make it challenging for adult learners to prioritize and find time to achieve their educational goals was difficult for Westmoreland to understand without external support. “How do we make returning students’ relationship to their education meaningful and relevant when their lives are so dispersed into their daily lives?” said Sydney Beeler, Vice President of Enrollment Management. “How do we make those barriers to learning look like they are approachable and easy to overcome?”

Of the many obstacles faced by returning students, one stood out to WCCC as a main priority: mental health. According to Julie Greathouse, Westmoreland’s Director of Student Success, mental health and poverty is particularly difficult to navigate in the Appalachian communities they serve, with the cycle of poverty dating back six generations or more.

“We needed a partner who would be authentic with our students, and have empathy for where they were coming from to help them learn to navigate the path,” Sydney said. “It’s really important in our advising model that ultimately we’re teaching our students to advocate for themselves. So we were looking for a partner that would hold those values central.”

Partnering to support more returning students

When WCCC approached ReUp, the team knew that they needed a better system of support, a partner that could help returning students navigate administrative hurdles like paying off past due balances or getting a loan out of default. ReUp Success Coaches gave WCCC the bandwidth to provide a human touch and focus on additional meaningful opportunities–for example, offering students advice on how to manage their time while facing competing priorities and repurposing their career services, connecting in and out-of-class experiences through improved co-curricular activities.

Discovering the power of self-advocacy in higher education

ReUp Success Coaches also provided a constant sense of care and attention to the students they worked with. The WCCC team soon started noticing that returning students were reaching out to coaches more proactively, asking more questions to help them get through the challenges of navigating college. “Seeing them speak up more, and develop social capital, has been really rewarding—a lot of students don’t have that,” Julie said. “And once they develop that sense of self advocacy, we can see that ‘switch’ where they go out and start making connections in the community, whether it’s within their field of study, or with faculty members who can help connect them to folks. That’s an important piece that I think that all college students need.”

From the initial first contact by ReUp, students sense that someone believes that they can be successful in college. I think that lots of them haven’t heard that in a long time.


Director of Student Success

Julie also notes helping students develop resilience both in and outside of the classroom can be powerful. Teaching students new ways of asserting themselves in their lives can have a ripple effect on generations of families and communities living in poverty. “How do you bounce back from a ‘no’?” Julie said. “Because once students are entering the workforce and they’re in a position to earn a family-sustaining wage, they’re going to need to know how to navigate those situations.”

Prioritizing support through ReUp data and insights

Through the student insights provided by ReUp, the WCCC team was able to better understand their students and prioritize support—providing the right type of assistance at the right time.

ReUp’s Learner Services team has done a great job compiling a needs assessment that is deployed at the start of every semester. This gives us insight into what our students are dealing with at the moment and helps us create really nimble and flexible strategies to help our students get through that year or semester.


Vice President of Enrollment Management

With ReUp, WCCC was also able to review persistence, retention, and completion data, disaggregating it by different student types so that they could view how those students were progressing across categories.

“We could easily identify how student parents were doing versus those that did not have caretaking in their lives,” Sydney said. “We could ask: how are our students that are working over 30 hours a week doing versus those that might not be? This has helped us look at the classes these students struggle with, and create interventions as we move forward.”

Gaining insights and feedback

More than just an extension of WCCC’s student coaching team, ReUp provided timely and transparent feedback on its overall processes, helping Westmoreland identify blind spots in their engagement strategy and enrollment process.

As a result of WCCC’s partnership with ReUp, the WCCC team integrated three high impact strategies to better support its adult learners and returning students:

Gather and gauge student data

Review student data to determine which factors could be creating barriers to success. WCCC disaggregated data by student lifestyle (parent vs. non-caregiver, etc) to understand underlying factors. This data can complement qualitative insights taken from Success Coach interactions.

Give consistent, personalized student support

Ensure that the current student to counselor ratio is healthy, enlisting outside resources if necessary to meet the needs of SCNC learners. With enough coaches on hand, learners of all ages can have the means to persist, gaining better access to educational opportunities.

Lean into the institutional mission

When the team at WCCC aligned their institutional mission, to “improve the quality of life for everyone we serve through education, training and cultural enrichment” with the current needs of all students, their impact within the communities they served increased.

Notes Sydney: “When ReUp came in to navigate our systems, they could show us why those blind spots are really important. The impact we’ve had together on student success and access—I think the numbers speak for themselves.”

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ReUp Education is revolutionizing the enrollment to graduation journey for all adults seeking higher education. Built upon the belief that with the right support, resources, and people in your corner, anything is possible we partner with future-facing institutions and state systems to bring equitable success in higher ed to all.

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Let’s start the conversation

Schedule a call with a ReUp team member to learn more about what a ReUp partnership could do for your institution.